Africa’s biggest humanitarian, Aliko Dangote, has assured Nigerians and Africans that the victory of the Coronavirus Disease pandemic remains certain.
Dangote, however, said this will become possible only if all stakeholders join hands to fight against the scourge, which has also hit Nigeria and the continent on several fronts.
In a goodwill message released on the occasion of his 63rd birthday on Friday, the foremost entrepreneur commended the efforts of the organised private sector, which through an initiative, tagged: “Coalition Against COVID-19,” has donated over N21 billion to support government’s efforts to tackle the pandemic in Nigeria.
Dangote, who through his philanthropic organization, Aliko Dangote Foundation, has donated N2 billion in cash and other materials to the CACOVID Fund, also saluted the efforts of the governments at all levels and those on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19, which is ravaging the economic, health and social sectors of the country.
In the message issued by the Dangote Group’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Anthony Chiejina, Dangote noted: “All hands must be on deck to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, and every gesture of support from other stakeholders outside government and the business community in Nigeria and Africa, would go a long way to help tackle an issue which has assumed a global dimension, with its impact felt all over the world. If we all work together to combat this virus, then there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
To demonstrate his commitment to the anti-coronavirus cause, the business tycoon had set stage by donating N2 billion to the CACOVID Fund to support the government’s efforts at tackling the pandemic.
He also donated four ambulances to the Lagos State Government to support its efforts.
Dangote and the Central Bank of Nigeria are the biggest donors to the Coalition Against COVID-19 account domiciled in the CBN.
In the wake of the pandemic, he had earlier announced an initial donation of N200 million during a meeting with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, international stakeholders and donors in Abuja.
Dangote has also been in the forefront of galvanising individual entrepreneurs and corporate bodies to contribute to the Coalition.
Under his leadership, CACOVID is building isolation centres in some states, which include: 500-bed temporary medical facility in Kano, which is near completion; 1,000-bed facility in Lagos; 210-bed isolation centre in Rivers; 200-bed facility in Abuja; 200-bed facility in Enugu; and another 200-bed facility in Borno States.
The second phase will see CACOVID-19 building isolation centres in Katsina, Ogun, Bayelsa, Anambra, Bauchi and Plateau States.
Other donors to the CACOVID-19 account are: BUA Group, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Unity Bank, SunTrust Bank, Union Bank, UBA, GTB, FCBM and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, among others.
Chiejina said the company is not resting on its oars and that philanthropy, especially healthcare support, has been part of the core mandates of the Aliko Dangote Foundation.
He said Dangote has been working with other private sector operators, stakeholders and relevant government authorities in the fight against the pandemic.
As part of CACOVID activities, media campaigns and outdoors advertisements are being launched across the states in the country.
Interventions by Aliko Dangote Foundation showed that the Foundation, which at inception was endowed with $1.25 billion, had supported the Federal Government of Nigeria with over N1 billion and medical facilities to fight the now rested Ebola Virus Disease.
It also donated $3 million to support African Union’s intervention against Ebola in West Africa and logistics support for the returnee volunteers on Ebola intervention.
It would be recalled that his Foundation had expended millions of dollars on polio eradication and routine immunisation, as well as strengthening the Primary Health Care in Nigeria.
The project, which commenced in Kano and Bauchi States, was later expanded to include Sokoto, Yobe, Kaduna and Borno States, with $10 million was voted for the projects.
ADF had supported the anti-malaria war with $100,000.00 following the End Malaria Council convened on the sidelines of the 2017 United Nations General Assembly by nine founding members.
It also partnered Global Business Coalition for Health to build African Business Coalition on Health and $1.5 million was donated to the cause.
Other health sector interventions by the ADF across Africa include: $750,000 earmarked for Children of Africa Foundation in Cote d’Ivoire; $25,000 for the Grand Heart Foundation in Chad; $250,000 for the ONE Campaign in Africa; $500,000 for emergency response to meningitis outbreak in Niger Republic; and $575,000 donation of mobile clinics to serve counties in Kenya.